AT least ten people reported killed so far today as a mega “life and death” blizzard hits the East Coast of the US – bringing up to THREE FEET of snow, The Sun reports. A state of emergency was declared in ten states as deadly Winter Storm Jonas – dubbed Snowzilla – crippled Washington DC and threatened New York and Boston as it swept up the country.
More than 7,700 flights have been cancelled and schools and government offices closed as up to 85 million people were warned to stay inside. Over 132,739 people have lost power across the Southeast part of the US. Forceasters warned the worst is yet to come and could smash records for the heaviest ever snowfall
The 50mph storm is set to dump up to three feet (91cm) of snow in DC and the surrounding area by late Saturday and blizzards could last for 36 hours. NASA released images of Snowzilla’s rampage seen from space: New York city authorities upped expected snowfall from 18 inches to 24, and two feet is also set to hit Baltimore and Philadelphia.
The National Weather Service tweeted: “The real teeth of this #winterstorm will be after midnight thru early Sat afternoon. Heavy snow, increasing winds, lightning threat.” The blizzard is set to rival 2010’s “Snowmagedon” megastorm which saw 18 inches snowfall and the “Knickerbocker” storm of 1922, when a record 28 inches fell.
Sharon Brewington recalled that in the “Snowmagedon”, she and her daughter were stuck at home with nothing but noodles and water. “I’m not going to make that mistake again,” she said. Residents preparing to be snowed-in for the weekend have cleared shelves of food and alcohol.
Hordes of snow-scared shoppers ransacked supermarkets and liquor stores, stripping shelves of food and sending booze sales through the roof. A number of petrol stations in the suburbs are also said to have run out of gasoline because of panic blizzard buying. American astronaught Scott Kelly has been live-tweeting pictures of the storm from the international space station.
One tweet revealed the rare moment lightning appears in the middle of the storm. Kelly dubbed the occurance ‘thundersnow’. According to officials, at least two people have died in North Carolina where ice made roads treacherous. “We’re having a lot of accidents,” said Pat McCrory, governor of North Carolina.
The Mayor of Washington as well as governors in several states, including New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina and Georgia, have declared a state of emergency. “This has life-and-death implications and all the residents of the District of Columbia should treat it that way,” Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser said at a Friday press conference.
The city is dispatching convoys of snow ploughs, salt trucks and gritters to make streets usable. Schools and government offices have been closed, and around 7,700 flights have been cancelled over Friday and Saturday, leaving thousands stranded in airports. Washington’s subway system closed down entirely and will remain closed until late Sunday.
‘Snowzilla’ has even forced president Obama to hunker down in the White House, told spokesman Josh Earnest.